PH gov’t eyes complete COVID-19 vaccination of tourism workers this year

Robie de Guzman   •   September 27, 2021   •   88

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is looking to complete the vaccination against COVID-19 of more than 5 million tourism workers in the country by the end of the year, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Cabinet Secretaries and task force officials set this target during the ceremonial vaccination for tourism industry workers in Cebu last Friday.

“When the pandemic struck, the nation’s tourism sector took a major hit. We believe that in order for the industry to get back on its feet and safely open our economy, we need to vaccinate as many members of our workforce as possible,” he said.

Galvez has approved an allocation of 20,000 doses per week for tourism workers.

Weekly allocations will cover employees in hotels and resorts, as well as in restaurants, airports, tourist destinations, and other tourism-related establishments across the country.

Galvez said the government is planning to boost the vaccination program for tourism workers in regions and provinces, especially in Cebu province where about 50% of tourism workers have already been vaccinated.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, for her part, said the agency aims to fully vaccinate 99% of its tourism workers in Cebu before the holiday season.

She added that the NTF has committed to allocate a specific volume of vaccine doses for tourism workers that will come from the supplies to be shipped to local government units nationwide.

PH receives over 970K more Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Another batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in the Philippines, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

The shipment containing 976,950 Pfizer vaccine shots was delivered on Wednesday evening at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said most of these doses will be allocated to the pediatric sector.

Galvez earlier said that the vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17 with health risks will be rolled out nationwide starting Nov. 3.

A total of 18,666 children aged 12 to 17 years old have been inoculated since the program was launched on Oct. 15 in eight hospitals in National Capital Region (NCR).

The vaccination drive is now on its second phase with 26 hospitals administering COVID-19 vaccines to the pediatric sector.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17 in 2021.

The national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

Minors with health risks vaccinated vs COVID-19 now almost 13K – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The number of minors with co-morbidities who were inoculated against COVID-19 has reached 12,958, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

In a statement, Galvez said that from the initial eight hospitals, the country now has 26 hospitals administering COVID-19 vaccines to the pediatric sector.

“We want to protect our children from severe disease and hospitalization. Kasi nakita natin noong Delta, almost 20 percent or 17 percent po ang nakita natin na na-hospitalize na mga bata,” he said.

With the country’s increasing vaccine supply, Galvez said the national government will continue to accelerate the vaccine rollout for this age group by opening more vaccination sites for them.

The vaccine czar stressed that vaccinating children against coronavirus disease will also be instrumental in the reopening of face-to-face classes and ‘ancillary businesses’ related to the education sector.

He likewise cited the social and mental impact of restricting the movement of children since the pandemic started.

He said allowing them to have “leeway to move around and play” will not just help in protecting the mental well-being of minors, but also revive economic activities especially this holiday season.

“We can only do these kung ma-vaccinate na rin natin ang mga bata so they will have ‘yung consumers’ confidence to go out,” Galvez said.

The national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

Based on the 2021 Philippine Projected Population of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country has a population of 12,722,070 under the 12 to 17 years old age group.

As of October 25, there are now 25,955,669 fully vaccinated individuals in the country, which represents 33.65% of the country’s target population.

 

PH gov’t to allot 7 million COVID-19 vax booster shots for priority sectors – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – At least 7 million doses will be allotted for the booster shots of healthcare workers, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly against COVID-19, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

In a statement, Galvez said two million of these shots will be given to healthcare workers while the remaining 5 million will be allotted to individuals with co-morbidity and senior citizens.

“Sa healthcare workers, we will allot more or less 2 million doses and we have enough doses for them. Regardless of brand, mayroon po tayo na nakatabi,” he said.

“And then for the immunocompromised and elderly, we will be requiring 5 million, and we also have enough doses with the succeeding deliveries,” he added.

Galvez, who also serves as the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said they are now preparing for the rollout of the booster shots following the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).

Based on HTAC’s recommendation, the booster shots should be given within the fourth quarter of the year to health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks who received the jabs at least six months after the primary series.

The HTAC also recommended that the boosters should be based on the vaccine brands received by the individuals in the primary series.

The HTAC also pushed for the implementation of boosters for other eligible population in 2022 only if the A1 to A5 priority groups reach 50 percent in the primary series.

 The council also recommended the administration of a third vaccine shot for priority sectors.

While the government is waiting for the amendment of the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines to be used as booster shots, as well as the review from the DOH All Experts Group, Galvez said the NTF has started to secure supplies for the said priority groups.

The administration of booster shots may begin by November depending on the month a healthcare worker or immunocompromised was vaccinated, he added.

Individuals under these categories who were vaccinated in March, April, and May will be qualified to receive the booster shots.

Galvez said around three million individuals are expected to belong to this priority group.

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